Attorneys on both sides of Abe Hamadeh’s election contest discovered on Friday that a Mohave County Superior Court judge has failed again. Judge Lee Jantzen signed what should have been a final order, but left matters pending, resulting in an “unfinal” final order.
“Another unfortunate error has delayed final judgment,” Jen Wright, attorney for Hamadeh told the Arizona Daily Independent. “Although the order that was filed today states that ‘nothing else [is] pending’, it specifically left open the rate of pay for ballot inspectors in Mohave and Navajo counties. This prevents the order from being a legally compliant final judgment. Unfortunately, that means an appeal is still premature and, if filed, could once again be dismissed by the Court of Appeals.”
Wright added that Hamadeh’s legal team is working with opposing counsel to ask the Mohave court to issue a partial judgment so that Hamadeh can file an appeal on the denial of the motion for a new trial while the motions regarding the ballot inspector fees proceed in the Mohave court.
Mohave County residents have reached out to Arizona Daily Independent embarrassed and frustrated by the continued missteps by Judge Jantzen, who was re-elected to the bench in November of 2022 for another four-year term. Residents are concerned about Judge Jantzen’s history of malfeasance and how his conduct in this case could indicate issues with other more routine cases that he presides over.
Legal pundits note that while Hamadeh has made good faith attempts to expedite the appellate proceedings, the trial court’s comedy of judicial errors has been the case’s biggest stumbling block. In comparison, Kari Lake’s election contest litigated in Maricopa County has had two trials and made its way up to the Supreme Court several times in the same amount of time it has taken the Mohave court to deny Hamadeh’s January 3rd motion for a new trial. Kari Lake will be back in court September 21st in a public records lawsuit related to her election contest.
Arizonans have expressed eagerness to have Hamadeh’s election contest heard on appeal, given that more than 9,000 provisional ballots remain uncounted with just 280 votes separating Hamadeh from Mayes. Unfortunately, the trial court’s repeated mistakes and what some believe is intentional slow walking, has caused delays that have created an increased air of distrust in both the judicial system and the electoral process.